Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Poll: 81 percent back Putin even as ruble falls
MOSCOW (AP) -- From a Western perspective, Vladimir Putin's days as president of Russia should be numbered: The ruble has lost more than half its value, the economy is in crisis and his aggression in Ukraine has turned the country into an international pariah.... 12/18/2014 2:51 PM

Sony film took aim at North Korea's biggest taboo
TOKYO (AP) -- If the U.S. government's claim is correct that North Korea was involved in the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures that scuttled Seth Rogen's latest comedy, no one can say they weren't warned. The movie, "The Interview," pushed all of North Korea's buttons.... 12/18/2014 2:47 PM

France fines 13 firms $1.2 bln for price-fixing
PARIS (AP) -- Penalizing a dirty business involving cleaning products, French regulators fined 13 consumer-products makers about 950 million euros ($1.2 billion) for price fixing on goods like shampoos, detergents and toothpaste.... 12/18/2014 2:44 PM

Dutch secret service taps terror suspects' lawyers
AMSTERDAM (AP) -- The Dutch interior ministry has acknowledged the country's secret service sometimes taps the communications of lawyers who represent terrorism suspects.... 12/18/2014 2:36 PM

UK police probe murder claims in child abuse case
LONDON (AP) -- British police said Thursday they are investigating three allegations of murder as part of an inquiry into claims that politically powerful people sexually abused children several decades ago.... 12/18/2014 2:35 PM

Rights group decries judges' sacking in Maldives
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- An international rights group has criticized the dismissal of two top judges in the Maldives, including the country's chief justice, calling it an assault on judicial independence.... 12/18/2014 2:27 PM

Irish face new abortion row over brain-dead woman
DUBLIN (AP) -- Ireland is debating its constitutional ban on abortion again amid a case involving a brain-dead pregnant woman on life support.... 12/18/2014 2:26 PM

EU leaders meeting about Russia, jumpstarting growth
BRUSSELS (AP) -- Leaders of the 28 European Union countries are meeting to talk about two major issues -how to jumpstart sluggish economic growth at home, and how to deal long-term with Russia.... 12/18/2014 2:22 PM

A look at North Korea's cyberwar capabilities
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Most North Koreans have never seen the Internet.... 12/18/2014 2:17 PM

Germany: 73 pounds of cocaine in coffee shipment
BERLIN (AP) -- A Berlin coffee business found stimulants it didn't expect in a shipment of unroasted coffee from Brazil: 33 kilos (nearly 73 pounds) of cocaine.... 12/18/2014 2:08 PM

Gulf stocks gain with Dubai closing 13 percent up
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Gulf equity markets made massive gains Thursday with Dubai's main stock market rising 13 percent, just two days after closing at its lowest point of the year.... 12/18/2014 2:07 PM

Lawyer defends acts of Nigeria soldiers sentenced to death
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- A human rights lawyer says 54 soldiers have been sentenced to death because they embarrassed Nigeria's military by demanding weapons to fight Islamic extremists, and says they were justified in not going on what would have been a suicidal mission.... 12/18/2014 2:06 PM

Official: 28 die in clashes in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) -- Clashes in Central African Republic between Muslim and Christian fighters have killed 28 people, left dozens wounded and sent civilians fleeing for safety, a Red Cross official said Thursday.... 12/18/2014 2:02 PM

Afghanistan: Suicide bomber kills policeman
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- An Afghan police officer was killed and three were wounded Thursday when a suspected suicide bomber they were pursuing detonated his explosives-laden vehicle, an official said.... 12/18/2014 1:57 PM

Colombia's government rebuffs rebel truce
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Colombia's government has rebuffed a unilateral truce declared by the country's largest rebel group, saying conditions demanded by the guerrillas' are unacceptable until a peace deal is reached.... 12/18/2014 1:51 PM

Serbia jails 11 rights activists during China summit
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) -- An international rights group has demanded the immediate release of 11 activists who planned protests against China at an economic summit in Serbia.... 12/18/2014 1:45 PM

11th Sierra Leonean doctor dies from Ebola
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) -- One of Sierra Leone's most senior physicians died Thursday from Ebola, the 11th doctor in the country to succumb to the disease, a health official said.... 12/18/2014 1:42 PM

Putin: West is trying to 'defang' the Russian bear
MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to fix Russia's economic woes within two years by diversifying away from its heavy reliance on oil and gas and voiced confidence that the plummeting ruble will soon recover.... 12/18/2014 1:36 PM

Russian sailors leaving French port without warship
PARIS (AP) -- Russian sailors are leaving a French Atlantic port without the French-made warship they were supposed to take home.... 12/18/2014 1:29 PM

Portugal gov't issues order to stop airline strike
LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Portugal's government has issued an executive order to stop a planned four-day strike by national airline staff during the busy Christmas holiday season.... 12/18/2014 1:25 PM